February 23 marks 220 years since the founding of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but 2021 also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the non-profit organization that manages the city-owned industrial park. In this birthday celebration, we will look back at the decades-long transformation of the Yard from a military shipbuilding installation into a dynamic and diverse hub of manufacturing, technology, design, and opportunity that hosts more than 500 businesses and 11,000 good-paying jobs. We will be joined by staff from BNYDC, who will share new projects and initiatives, insights on the growth of the Yard in recent years, and how the businesses have navigated the pandemic.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with our team as we share the history, traditions, and foods of one of the world’s most widely-celebrated holidays. While the actual New Year falls on February 12 this year, the celebrations stretch on for more than three weeks around the holiday. Our staff member Gina Gao will teach us about the mythology of the holiday, how people prepare for the New Year, and the origins of traditions like the red envelopes (hóngbāo) and the Lantern Festival (Yuánxiāo jié). We will also learn about New Year traditions unique to Gina’s hometown of Wuhan, and look at the evolution of celebrations in New York City’s Chinese communities. Though public celebrations are subdued due to the pandemic, we will also go live to Flushing, Queens to see how the community is marking the holiday.
The Brooklyn waterfront is blessed with many cultural institutions, but three of the most unique are led by three dynamic cultural entrepreneurs. The Brooklyn waterfront is richer because of Andrew Gustafson, Carolina Salguero, and David Sharps, who lead Turnstile Tours, PortSide NewYork, and the Waterfront Museum, respectively. Join the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center for a virtual Breakfast Talk with these entrepreneurs as they speak about how they have been navigating their institutions through the pandemic. After each explains their unique mission, they will tell us what they did to carry on during COVID, how they did it, and which of the changes they have made will be carried into post-pandemic Brooklyn.
Please join our friends at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a virtual opening of new public art, Atmosphere for Invention, now on view in Buildings 77 and 92. The program will include the premiere of a short video featuring all nine artists and their new works, as well as remarks, virtual cheers and toasts, and Q&A. The Brooklyn Navy Yard has initiated a public art program for artists seeking to create site-specific installations in public spaces. With the cultural sector among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative serves to economically uplift members of the Yard’s creative community while also providing the community with art activations to enjoy around the site. Each of the works on view use elements of color, texture, and light to establish a dialogue with the history of the site as well as its evolving ecosystem of people, labor, and infrastructure. Together, the works capture the innovative spirit of the Yard and its forward-looking future. Artists on view include Tatiana Arocha, Beth Campbell, Paul Campbell, JC Cancedda, Noël Copeland, Monique Luchetti, Jackie Meier, Lindsay Walt, and Tracy Wuischpard.
While winter can seem like a slow time for birdwatching, many migratory species can be seen in New York only at this time of year. Join us for a discussion with experts from the Brooklyn Bird Club, where they will share some of the notable species currently found in the city, how to identify them, and tips for where to to find them. We will also have a birder joining us live from the field showing some of these spots in Prospect Park.
Prospect Park Alliance recently completed the restoration of the Endale Arch, one of the original portals to the park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. Get an insider’s look at the restoration process, which required years of research, incredibly skilled craftspeople, and painstakingly detailed work to bring the arch back to its original splendor. We will be joined by Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect, Design & Construction at the Alliance about the years-long, multi-phase process to restore the full arch, and Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, which did the restoration work on the stunning interior. We will also go live to the arch itself to see these wonderful details up close. This program is offered in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance, and the arch restoration was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander through District 39 participatory budgeting.
Since 2003, IceStone has been manufacturing countertops in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Made from 100% recycled glass, cement, and pigment, their unique designs and innovative production process have made IceStone a leading company in sustainable manufacturing. On this virtual tour, we will explore their products and process with Marketing Director Ashon McCollin, who will walk us through their factory, discuss commercial and residential projects they have worked on, and highlight the company’s initiatives to support the environment and their workers, which have made them a Certified B Corporation and a leader in the social enterprise movement.
You may have seen people collecting cans and bottles, dependent upon the few cent deposit for their livelihood. For the past 10 years, Sure We Can has provided a sustainable and safe space for this community to thrive. The non-profit organization is not only a recycling center, but also an art space, community center, garden, composting facility, and a place for the local community to learn about sustainability. Join us as we chat with executive director Ryan Castalia and take a virtual tour through this incredible facility in Brooklyn, where we may even get to meet a canner or two to hear their stories.
For almost a century, New Jersey’s Morris Canal fueled New York City with anthracite coal from northeast Pennsylvania, but now for nearly another century, the abandoned canal has been all but obliterated from the landscape. Join us as Tim Roth of the Canal Society of New Jersey helps uncover this lost canal, its innovative design, and its vital role in the history of New York City. Our discussion will also look at the lives of the people who worked that waterway, and current efforts to return its remnants to public view.
Originally from Connecticut and of Portuguese descent, New York-based artist Ralph Almeida creates colorful and imaginative “pop-surreal” works of ceramic and acrylic art that combine many influences – of indigenous and modern artists, the ancient and contemporary, nature and spirituality, and his own background as a textile designer. Ralph is perhaps best known for his painted decorative tiles, and he will walk us through a hands-on tile demo and some of his favorite projects, from tiles inspired by the stained glass windows of the Museum at Eldridge Street, to special commissions for people’s homes to decorative face masks.